HOLIDAY MODE | DEAR TKB: To get married, or not to get married? I need to know NOW (please). | Also, Bambino.

Happy Tuesday evening, darlings.  Did you get what you wanted this weekend?  I got the gift of family, friends and a Radiohead concert next March from Honey.  DREAM GIFT, and I didn’t even know I wanted it that bad.  Downside of Christmas: Honey unwittingly said “creampie” when a new-to-the-family young lady asked “ooohh, what kind of kind of dessert is this?”, pointing to the jello pudding whipped cream pie.  They both immediately looked away and down, were silent for what, three hours?  That’s what it felt like.  It was probably around 2 seconds.  They then parted ways, never to speak again.  Probably forever and ever, amen.

Good times!  GTs.

Ok SO!  Tell me what you got for Christmas if that’s what you celebrate!!!!  I love hearing this stuff, it’s weird.  I just love hearing it.

By the way I wanted to show you what Bambino’s grandparents got him for Christmas:

It’s a puffy winter jacket, because he gets cold when it’s chilly outside; his limbs and bell do a little shimmy shake thing and it’s kind of cute but it’s also kind of sad.

My parents got him the coat a size or seven too big, so Bambino pretty much got a cape for Christmas.  Which makes his present 1000% cooler than it was.  #winning.  He’s my little superhero so I’m happy with it.  And he sort of looks like he’s flying in that image.  I like it.

Ok.  This one’s a toughie.

Dear TKB:

My fiancé and I are getting married next year in the fall.  Actually I should be clear – we’re having *our wedding* in the fall.  It’s important to clarify that because my query involves the fact that we might – emphasis on might – actually go ahead and have a quickie marriage ceremony before the new year.  Which I guess means in the next four days.  Why?  Recently my fiancé found out from the accountant that we could save in excess of $10,000 USD if we made it legal in 2011.  Important details: we certainly aren’t rolling in it by any stretch, but it’s not like we’re choosing between food or prescriptions, either.  So it’s mostly about how he’s just thinking it would be silly to pay an additional $10,000 in taxes when we could just as easily have a little impromptu ceremony at the courthouse, thereby saving $10,000; most of which we could put towards the wedding next year.  A good thing, when I look at it from a practical perspective.

He’s already looked into the laws in NY where we live, and it turns out we could realistically get ‘er done over the span of two days.  (Can you believe it’s that easy?  I thought you had to have a blood test, etc.)  Anyway.  He told me he’s just thinking in terms of being a provider, and that if this is going to impact me in a negative way emotionally, he doesn’t want us to go through with it.

My dilemma is this: I try really hard not to let money impact really big decisions or changes of life plans (except in necessary cases of course), and I know in my heart that I would prefer we wait to file the papers and have that incredible moment of actually being married happen much closer to the time we have our wedding.  I never really grow attached to specific hopes and dreams, as I’m more of a “live life in the present” kind of person.  It’s more fun that way, I think.  But this whole marriage thing is something I’ve been really committed to having documented beautifully, with a photographer, hopefully a videographer, and at least my immediate family present.  I just want to be able to look back on the day we officially became a wedded couple with fondness.  If I can avoid it, I’d rather our story not be “Kids, mommy and daddy rushed their ceremony into the last few days of 2011 because they realized they could save 10K.  The End.” :)  Maybe I’m being silly?  I don’t know anymore.  I’ve been rolling this around in my head for the last two full days and I’m at a loss for what to do.

Like I said, I know in my heart that I’d much rather save it instead of rush this hugely meaningful series of minutes (signing the license, etc.).  I know this because it makes me sad, and I’ve already teared up once about it, when I think about going through with the rushed ceremony.  I think if we had more time, and could fly our photographer out to document it and I could get a nice dress maybe, I think I’d be 1000% more willing to go through with the quickie version, you know?

BUT ON THE OTHER HAND.  I’m a saver by nature, and so I definitely see the point/benefit of saving $10,000.  Who wouldn’t want to save it, especially if it was this easy?  And that’s a whole lot of money that we can rain on the wedding.  Or on everyday life stuff.  Or a much need vacation since we both work way too hard.  Or the hospital bill when we have a baby one day in the future.  Or whatever.

I’m having the worst time deciding which way to go.  Am I just being overly emotional?  Will I get over it?  Please help me figure this out, Knotty community.  Thanks, I appreciate it.


Dear R,

Oh boy.  This… this, is a tough one.  I’m a saver, too, so I feel you on your indecision, and $10,000 is approximately a lot of dollah bills y’all.  I mean, you could buy so much with $10,000, right?!  You could buy a car for $10,000.  You could donate $10,000 to charity and make a huge impact.  You could buy the most amazeballs vacation, like you said, with $10,000.  You could start a college fun for your future babies, even though interest rates are s**t these days.  You could supercharge your wedding with $10,000.  You could never have to clip a coupon for the next full year.

Not sure if you can buy back your hopes and dreams, though, with $10,000.  Jury’s still out on that one.

Ok, I’m turning it over to you guys now and hoping you might be willing to offer Miss R your suggestions/thoughts/reactions.  FYI, Miss R has what? like, a day to make this decision.  Yikes.

xoxo!  - Alison

Vanessa Joy Photography is a member of Vendor Love.  Explore more of her work here, in our guide.

Label(s): "DEAR TKB..." Advice Column

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  1. Anni on December 27, 2011

    Such a tough decision, and I really think that it depends on the two of you. By no means would a quick elopement be a bad thing, and $10,000 can mean a lot to any couple. But don’t feel like the world will end if you don’t make this snap judgement.

    The questions that are most important to me in terms of a quick marriage ceremony are — 1) are you going to tell friends and family, or keep it a secret? are you okay with them not being there if you keep it a secret? 2) do you still want to celebrate it, i.e, buy a cute little dress and hire a photographer for a few hours, go out to dinner, etc, or do you want it to just be the two of you? 3) do you feel like you’re really married when it’s legal, or when it’s in front of friends and family?

  2. Danielle Fletcher on December 27, 2011

    Let the alleged 10k go. You’re not losing anything you already have. A wedding is once in a lifetime (God willing). You know what you want to do and you NEED to know that giving up on that financial prize doesn’t make you selfish or wrong or irresponsible. It should never have been part of the Wedding in the first place. Talk to your hunny and make sure he will NEVER be resentful of ‘losing out’ on some cash (because you never know) then make a decision to have this Wedding at the time and place that feels right to you both.

  3. Janna on December 27, 2011

    I don’t quite understand how getting married this year saves 10K? s there some new marriage tax I haven’t heard of yet. Whatever the reason may be, if the dream is to marry that person and you can save a buck by doing it quietly now and then having a full on crazy party in a few months I think it would be great! Myself, we talk about getting married/eloping to have a little thing by ourselves so that we can be a little less pressured when our Autumn wedding comes around. We are the kind of couple that kind of lives in our own little world and so a private ceremony is romantic for us and we are both insanely family oriented so we know that the real big day is going to be a big production. If you think your love will be the same regardless of the date of the actual marriage then go for it and use the savings for something awesome. But seriously…what is this 10K thing??? My interest is peaked!

  4. BBid on December 27, 2011

    It looks like I might be in the minority early on, but I’d say save the $10,000! My husband and I had the beautiful marriage, photographed and documented beautifully (read: expensively), and we had all of our friends and family present. Guess what? We had forgotten, in all of our manic and crazy preparations, to get a marriage license (d’oh!). Of all the simple little things. So we had to do it again, two weeks later, with only two friends present. Both of our “weddings” are special to me, but the one that matters to me, and to my family, is the one that happened first. The photo documented one where everyone was present, and we had booze and food and a huge partay.

    YMMV. I didn’t do any of this on purpose, so it almost didn’t matter how I felt about it. We weren’t married the first time, plain and simple, even though we wanted to be, so we had to do it again for the paperwork. If I could do it all again, I’d probably do it the “right” way, hindsight being what it is, but emotionally it doesn’t make either day any less special to me, if you know what I mean. If I’d had an incentive that equaled half the cost of our wedding, I would have taken it first and thought about it later.

    Also, you know what the best part of our little mistake is? TWO ANNIVERSARIES. Srsly.

  5. Brittany on December 27, 2011

    Wow…tough decision indeed! I know how you feel despite the fact that I am not engaged yet but I have had this discussion with my awesome bf of 6 years. I sometimes go into this thought of I don’t care if I don’t have it all. I am in love with you and of course I would run right down to city hall and tie the knot.

    However being that I am a wedding planner and a girly girl daily I just couldn’t live with myself to not have a wedding. I crave the details and all the fun that foes into such a special one of a kind day! As a woman you have to listen to your heart. Don’t worry about the cost because spending the 10K is totally worth it. A wedding is a time to share in the joy of bringing two people together who are deeply in love. You get to spoil yourself and your guests with a touching ceremony, great food, awesome dancing and having a photographer to capture it all!!

    I feel that you would regret it and for the simple fact that you have stated that you want a wedding is enough for me to tell you to not sell yourself short and HAVE A WEDDING!!!! lol Enjoy the fun of learning about each other during the planning process. Have an engagement shoot, laugh with your bridesmaids, plan and plan big! You are marrying the love of your life so enjoy it and spoil yourself!!!!

    Be the bride you know you want to be and if you really don’t want to spend 10K then do a destination wedding and knock your budget in half! If you need a Wedding Planner give me a call, 267-702-3037! Beautiful Beyond Dreams, LLC is a full service wedding & event planning company and we do destination weddings and more! A wedding is truly an awesome experience. An experience that every Bride & Groom should get! An experience that you and your fiance deserve.

    Hope this has helped you! :-D

    Brittany Allen
    Beautiful Beyond Dreams, LLC

  6. BBid on December 27, 2011

    Also, to address all the emphasis on the “Wedding” in the comment above. The fact that all the emphasis is being put on the “Wedding” and not the marriage would be reason enough for me to take the money and run far, far away from someone whose priority was on the “once in a lifetime (“god” willing)” “Wedding,” and not the marriage.

    If you’re practical and want to save the money, go for it. If you’re practical, but know that you want your big day to be your only big day for religious or personal reason, go for it! You’re obviously asking for advice, but only you know which sounds like it will be right for you and your future husband.

  7. Katie on December 27, 2011

    Ughhhh, I hate that you have to make this decision! I sometimes wish the government could just stay out of the marriage business. It sounds like you would rather wait. But if you decide that you want to take the money, here is my experience in this area and a few tips/warnings/things to avoid if you decide to do it!

    We did civil marriage for immigration reasons a few months ago and I’m not going to lie, it’s a little anti-climatic. We live in Brazil (my honey is Brazilian!) and all my family is in the US so we just planned a little weekend get together with his family to celebrate. Nothing fancy, just togetherness, food and drinks. I love my in-laws, they are so great but I feel like until my family sees it, it’s not finished. (I call our civil marriage the dress rehearsal) And now we are planning to have a big wedding with both our families next year. But, I can say that $10,000 would definitely make me feel better about it. Especially since it would pay for most of our wedding here in Brazil!

    At the end of the day I’m married to the person I know I want to be with so I don’t regret it. But I’m sure you will have some people giving you a hard time because “How can you have a wedding if you are already married?” Just ignore these people, they don’t realize what they are saying and that it’s going to hurt your feelings. And don’t let it, because you married the love of your life AND you’re $10,000 richer! Also, don’t lie or keep it a secret. It makes it seem like you are doing something wrong and you’re not. (Apparently the govt is encouraging it) You’re marrying your sweetheart , you shouldn’t have to keep that a secret! Lastly, if you do it, celebrate in some way, even if it’s just you two.

    Oh and I promise the wedding will still be special if make it special. :)

    Good luck! Let us know what you decide!

  8. Katie on December 27, 2011

    P.S. Santa (my sweetheart) got me these shoes I’ve been eyeing for months but was too cheap to buy for myself! (Saving up for that wedding, ya know?) Totally in love!

  9. Danielle Fletcher on December 27, 2011

    To the commenter who didn’t leave a real name, I emphasized the ‘Wedding’ since that’s the only thing the bride-to-be was asking about. She mentioned several times that her heart was set on a real Wedding on their wedding date but didn’t know if she should forego the WEDDING and settle for a quick civil ceremony. I didn’t ascertain that she was questioning a marriage. R, you seem to have a great head on your shoulders and you are clearly going into marriage with your eyes open and I wish you lots of calm and peace while making such a tough decision. xo

  10. chandra ~ Oh Lovely Day on December 27, 2011

    I say do it, tell no one, and celebrate two anniversaries, and use the $10k to go on an amaze honeymoon! I know that now that I’m 2+ years past my wedding, and have a baby, and no job aside from blogging, and not a ton of money, I am a little sick to think about how much I spent on my wedding, as much as I loved the day and wouldn’t change a thing. So an extra $10k is a lot of moolah. Just my 2 cents…

    Also, Santa got me a really pretty new Plum Pretty Sugar robe, a facial, some books, a gold glitter iphone case, and (wait for it) Crazy Stupid Love. He loves me, he really loves me. A Radiohead concert is a freaking amazing gift! SUPER green with envy.

  11. Sam on December 27, 2011

    This is such a tough decision to have to make! If it were me, I’d take the money and just get married now, but I don’t personally have a lot of sentimental value invested in having a lovely wedding. Is there any way you could get a second opinion on the $10,000 savings? That seems like a LOT of money to me that you would be saving on taxes just by getting married. If you go to another accountant and they say that you would save less, it could impact your decision. Based on a very very basic calculation I just did, not including any deductions or anything of that nature, on an annual combined income of 100,000 (because that’s an easy number to work with) you would save about $2000 on just basic income taxes. Now, my tax knowledge is obviously not as extensive as your accountant, but I would definitely want another opinion on a number that large. So that’s my recommendation right now. I don’t know how quickly you could get that done, or if you would want to do that, but if it will make you feel better, I’d say it’s worth looking into.

  12. Josephine on December 27, 2011

    I would say, get legally married now, tell no one and have a hell of a wedding in the fall as you originally planned.

  13. Elizabeth on December 27, 2011

    $10,000 is TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS. I say just get married and save the money for the real celebration: your wedding. The courthouse thing is just the legal thing, not the big event that you share with all of your family and friends.

  14. Brit @ Landlocked Bride on December 27, 2011

    I say do it and tell no one (well, except your accountant and Uncle Sam).

    No one has to know you tied the knot. This can be something you two do for yourselves. Just time for you two. It might not have all of the pomp and circumstance as your wedding will have next Fall.

    Your wedding next Fall will still have love and emotion and fun. Why? Because you’re getting **married.** (well, in this case you will already be married). But the point is that the love won’t go away in a year, so as Chandra says, have to anniversaries. No one needs to know ;)

  15. CupcakeCaliBride on December 28, 2011

    Why not do both? Do a private ceremony for just the two of you now – that is a reassuring, intimate thing for the two of you…and then have the big wedding which is sharing and celebrating your love with [your] world – ie friends and family. It could be explained to children as you wanted a private ceremony before the big wedding, and the 10K need not be mentioned if you don’t want to.

  16. Kristine {In Love, Engaged} on December 28, 2011

    My first instinct {and really my final determination} is to go for it. Although, I agree with everyone suggesting you get a second opinion on the $10K thing. How exactly would it save you guys $10K? More importantly, have you been included in the discussion/numbers crunch that shows you will save that money? And, also importantly, how will that money come back to you and how will you save it over the year to be able to spend on your wedding/honeymoon/future life together?

    Logistics aside though, I understand your dilemma as well as your hesitation. My husband and I thought about getting married legally before our wedding and I admit that I had extremely mixed feelings about it. We didn’t end up doing it in the end but for entirely different reasons. Personally, if $10K were at stake, I probably would have chosen to do it.

    Why? Well, a few reasons. First, money may just be money but finances are in the top three reasons people divorce. Being wise with your money, communicating openly re: money decisions, balancing saving/spending/giving are key components to a healthy marriage. Not going into debt for a wedding is one of the best things you do starting out.

    Second, this thing you’d be doing would be for LEGAL purposes. The wedding you’d have next year would be for spiritual/family/celebration purposes. Why can’t you have both?! Life sometimes doesn’t happen the way we think or dream it will happen. That doesn’t make it any more special or significant. Think about all those couples who marry legally to obtain a green card before the wedding so the partner can remain in the country. They do it because it’s practical. And necessary. And they still get to plan the wedding and prepare for their marriage in the interim.

    All that to say, though, you have to feel OK with it. And you can’t have anyone give you the answer. If you know in your heart that you will sincerely regret the decision, don’t do it. Money isn’t worth feeling that kind of emotional weight and baggage.

    One final piece of advice though: Make sure you sit down with your fiance and talk it THROUGH. Make pro/con lists. Have quiet time to sit with both options. And come to a decision together. By the way, that’s REALLY good practice for your future together so, hey, consider yourself lucky? :) Good luck!!

  17. Paige on December 28, 2011

    I live in Canada and am in a common-law partnership — which is just a nice way of saying I get all the tax breaks of a married couple even though we’re only still engaged. I totally get what you’re going through. We actually went to an accountant about the same thing (how much we could save filing together) and were told we were already common-law and that it was the same thing.

    Bummer of bummers that you have to have a ceremony now. I totally understand how you feel wanting your big day, but also wanting to save a pretty penny (or 10 million). I have a friend who had her civil ceremony in December and her wedding in July to do exactly what you are looking at doing. It’s been done! The only time the December wedding date will come up is in Government security clearances and passport applications.

    Do it! Get hitched now! Save the money! The wedding is your social contract with your community. Don’t underestimate its value. But don’t underestimate the cost, either ;)

  18. Mindy on December 28, 2011

    This would be a no brainer for me. Have the quickie wedding and take the dough. Bonus – you get two anniversaries to celebrate every year. Go to Nordstrom and get yourself a nice dress in your favorite color and a matching tie or dress shirt for your groom, pick up some roses from Costco for your bouquet, have a friend with a nice camera be there to take some pictures, and sign the papers. Then TREAT YO SELF to a nice honeymoon after the “real” wedding in the fall. WIN WIN.

  19. Janna (Sparkly Love) on December 28, 2011

    One of my closest girlfriends had a quick court house marriage before her “real wedding” for insurance reasons, after finding out (while planning their wedding) that she was expecting their first baby. They only ever told a handful of their closest friends & fam about it. The following year, with baby in attendance, they had their wedding. He still cried when she came down the aisle, she still danced with her daddy, and they had the most amazing day ever. The piece of paper they signed in the court house that day ensured that mom & baby would have the best care in the world. They still consider their wedding day to be the day they celebrated their love in front of all their friends and family. It was the right call for them, only you can decide if it’s the right call for you. Will 10k change your life in an amazing way? Or will it change your life by making you forever feel like you missed out? You have to go with your gut on this one I think. Best of luck!!!!!

    Ps. I got married in July and we almost had a courthouse ceremony pre-wedding so my Aunt could perform our ceremony (because that was what we wanted, but it isn’t legally binding in the state where we were married). We ended finding an officiant and not going to the courthouse, but if $10k were on the line, I would have!

  20. Sara on December 28, 2011

    My entire wedding cost $10k this summer. Get the private ceremony now, make it super romantic, then use that cash to throw a huge bash next year. Because, really, it’s about a MARRIAGE, not a wedding. 5 years from now, it won’t matter if you technically got married before the wedding.

  21. Felicia on December 28, 2011

    Oh hon, are you feeling like if you let go of the moment for money you’ll feel like you sold out? This case is special. It’s not like you’re trading your first born for ten grand. You get to duplicate a special moment in your life.

    My parents were already married when they had their wedding and I’ve always thought that it was sooo romantic. They said they were sitting around the house one day when they decided they just couldn’t wait. They had to be married immediately so just the two of them went to Vegas and didn’t tell anyone. Who knows if there was any money involved but I don’t think it matters. They still had a big wedding and got the chance to have a conventional and unconventional wedding in one lifetime with the same person.

    The point is so many unique circumstances will contribute to your love story and just because this one was financially driven doesn’t make it shallow or unsentimental. Look at it this way instead. Life is short and you never know what may happen. We’re all just an accident or natural disaster away from regret.

  22. Elizabeth on December 28, 2011

    I say go for it! When I got married, we were actually trying to figure a time to do a private ceremony because the wedding stuff was so crazy, busy, overwhelming, definitely fun, but there wasn’t a quiet moment for us to take for ourselves. And bonus- you’re basically getting paid to have the best of both worlds (eloping and big bash). How romantic would a NYE ceremony be?! Then, you’ll always have super great parties to go to on your secret anniversary, and when you kiss at midnight, it’ll always be that much more special. Grab a fun dress, some sweet flowers, and hire a photographer to document if you want to keep it a secret from friends.
    BUT as Dr. Phil says, never substitute someone else’s judgement for your own… Not even for $10,000. Good luck!

  23. June on December 28, 2011

    I’d say get married in 2011. And since it is not “real” money, just savings, don’t go throwing 10 extra grand into a wedding that will happen later, with a budget you already planned. And both days will be special to you no matter what!!!

  24. aurea @ pricewise events on December 29, 2011

    Wow, that’s a tough one, I am also a saver and I know that we, women, really wan that our wedding will have an impact in both our lives having experience everything the first time with a beautiful ceremony and not just marry because we need to. :) But still, $10K is a huge amount of money!

  25. Christine @ Bridal Banter on December 29, 2011

    If the idea of doing a quick marriage makes you cry, then you shouldn’t do it, and you shouldn’t feel guilty about that.

    However, if you can make a 2011 wedding feel special to you, then it’s worth considering — and it wouldn’t have to be special in a traditional wedding sort of way. Maybe it would be a low-key day but filled with all of you and your fiance’s favorite things? The wedding-y wedding could come later — if you know you’d be OK with that.

    You don’t want to start out a marriage with any sorts of feelings of regret, even if it’s only about the way you marked the day and has nothing to do with the person you married. It starts things out on the wrong foot.

    That said, I feel you. I’m a practical, money-saver too, but I love to throw a good party and I love to make a big fuss over special occasions. Even if I opted for the sensible route, I think a part of me would feel bummed no matter how much I tried to talk myself out of that feeling.

    I think the best thing you could do is take an honest assessment of yourself and your feelings and make your decision based on that. If you’re truly not OK with the idea of marring before the end of the year, don’t do it.

  26. May on December 30, 2011

    Really was a difficult decision…

  27. Lizzie B on January 17, 2012

    Do we know what R decided on in the end? I’m really interested in knowing how this turned out!

  28. Passerby on September 10, 2012

    I would say take the ten grand, because it will be a greater boon to your wedded life than any beautiful wedding party.


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